Saturday, November 24, 2007

Classic Reading List

If you're thinking about doing any recreational reading during your Christmas break, here is a list of classical Christian works that I highly recommend! They aren't in any particular order.

Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin

Dissertation Concerning the End for Which God Created the World by Jonathan Edwards

The Nature of True Virtue by Jonathan Edwards

The Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards

Freedom of the Will by Jonathan Edwards

Bondage of the Will by Martin Luther

Treatise on Good Works by Martin Luther

The Cause of God and Truth by John Gill

The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation by Andrew Fuller

City of God by Augustine of Hippo

On the Predestination of the Saints by Augustine of Hippo

On the Holy Spirit by Basil of Caesarea

On the Incarnation by Athanasius

Systematic Theology by Louis Berkhof

Preaching and Preachers by Martin Lloyd-Jones

The Christian Ministry by Charles Bridges

Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan

Holy War by John Bunyan

The Doctrine of Law and Grace Unfolded by John Bunyan

Justification by Imputed Righteousness by John Bunyan

The True Bounds of Christian Freedom by Samuel Bolton

Biblical Theology by Geerhardus Vos

Redemption, Accomplished and Applied by John Murray

Principles of Conduct by John Murray

The Doctrine of Justification by James Buchanan

Covenant Theology by Nehemiah Cox

The Everlasting Covenant (sermon) by Benjamin Keach

Mortification of Sin by John Owen

Communion with God by John Owen

The Death of Death by John Owen

The Doctrine of Justification by John Owen

The Christian’s Great Interest by William Guthrie

Polity, ed, Mark Dever

God, Revelation, and Authority by Carl Henry

Christian Apologetics by Cornelius Van Til

Holiness by J.C. Ryle

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The New Testament Commentary

CBD currently has the best price I've ever seen on the 12 volume Hendricksen/Kistemaker commentary set at $99.99. They will be released on November 30, 2007. If you don't own these volumes, I highly recommend that you get them! This commentary is filled with sound biblical exegesis and pastoral wisdom that everyone should consult when studying, teaching, and preaching from the NT.

CBD writes: "This set is ideal for pastors and serious Bible students of the Reformed tradition. It is the only complete commentary on the New Testament written solely from a Reformed perspective. This award-winning twelve-volume hardcover set features verse-by-verse exegesis and applications, critical notes on the Greek text, chapter summaries, and extensive bibliographies and indexes."

Monday, November 12, 2007

NT Use of the OT

There's a book out called Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament edited by GK Beale and DA Carson. Advocating a covenantal interpretation of the Old Testament, it has been reviewed over at Nine Marks Ministries by James Hamilton, who wrote:

"Many of us studied under professors who said something like this: "the authors of the New Testament made the Old Testament say whatever they wanted it to say, but they had the right to do so because they were inspired by the Holy Spirit. You can’t interpret the Old Testament the way they did because you’re not inspired."

Okay, maybe they nuanced the statement more than that, but the idea was plainly communicated that the authors of the New Testament had not interpreted the Old Testament according to the Old Testament’s own meaning in its own historical context. Thus, whatever the authors of the New Testament may have been doing, we were not to read the Old Testament the way they read it. And we were taught this by evangelical scholars who signed a doctrinal statement that had the word inerrancy in it."

I just bought a copy of the commentary for myself and encourage you to get yours!!!

HT: The Road to Emmaus

Friday, November 09, 2007

Local Church Covenants

There isn't a single passage teaching about the existence of church covenants; rather, the doctrine is built on a number of biblical principles, which include but are not necessarily limited to the following.

1. The Plurality of Local Churches. The term "churches" normally appears in the plural throughout the New Testament when referencing local congregations. There aren't "new covenants" in the plural, but the Bible does speak of "churches" in the plural. These local church bodies in the New Testament are composed of Christians who have voluntarily and mutually agreed to come together for the sake of the gospel, to establish a church, to appoint the New Testament officers of elders and deacons, who are not officers with authority over all the local churches of the new covenant, but only over a specific local church. Local church bodies mutually consent, agree, or covenant to sit under the teaching and ministry of specific officers, to which other local churches have not consented. The decision to appoint certain men as deacons over the Jerusalem church was a proposal that "pleased the whole group" (Acts 6:5). Therefore, the Bible teaches that the local churches are distinct assemblies (plural) composed of specific individuals in which members have mutually agreed (covenanted) to submit to the authority of specific officials.

2. Church Discipline. Each individual local church is responsible to discipline its own membership and does not have authority over the memberships of other local churches. This shows that there are bodies of believers in the New Testament that have covenanted or agreed to walk together in mutual accountability. According to Scripture, the highest court of appeal in matters of discipline is the whole local church body. "If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church" (Matt 18:17). The punishment of excommunication was inflicted "by the majority" (2 Cor 2:6-8) at the local church of Corinth. Thus, local churches have mutually consented to submit to the discipline of their own memberships but are not bound to receive discipline from the membership of a sister church. The majority of the members of the church of Corinth was what was required, period. The fact that local churches have the authority to discipline those in their memberships shows that local church members are mutually submitted, or covenanted, to the terms of the new covenant.

3. Distinct from Both Outsiders and Unbelievers. Local churches are composed of a specific group that is recognized as distinct from both outsiders and unbelievers. 1 Corinthians 14:23 speaks of times when the "whole church comes together." It says, “If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds” (1 Cor 14:23)? Note that the text distinguishes "outsiders" and "unbelievers" from the "whole church." It's not simply saying that unbelievers are outsiders or that outsiders are unbelievers, but it's saying first that there are those who are outside the Corinthian church, outside the bounds of its membership, which includes any and all people, believers and unbelievers, who aren't Corinthian church members, and then second the whole local church is distinct from unbelievers. Thus, a local church is a specific, known, recognized group of believers distinct from all outsiders, including non-member believers, and unbelievers.

While the words "church covenant" are never used in the Bible, Scripture represents local churches as involving an agreement or mutual consent among professing Christians to walk together as a local assembly, to walk under the ministry of specific appointed officers, and under the discipline of that local church. That mutual agreement is a covenant.

Thus, there are evidently two covenanted groups in view in the NT. First, there is the local church, which agrees, or covenants to walk together under the terms of the new covenant. And, second there is the new covenant, which includes the whole invisible people of God, believers in all places everywhere.